SPRINGBROOK TOWNSHIP—Six year old Tessa Long, a first-grader at Moscow Elementary School, decided to spread holiday cheer far and wide this year with a donation of over 500 toys, games and activities to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
When Long was four, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, explained her mother, Tiffany Heller.
“Since receiving treatment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, we have had such a better quality of life,” said Heller in an email.
She later stated in a phone interview that Long learned a great deal of confidence in her diagnosis, as well as ways to cope with it.
The medical professionals and office workers at CHOP “...are always doing stuff for the kids,” said Heller.
Long saw this, said Heller, and would often talk with the other children awaiting treatment, learning about the different diagnoses they had and some of the symptoms they experienced.
Wanting to help herself, Long decided she wanted, “to make the sick kids at the hospital feel better,” Heller said in an email.
Beginning at the end of October and all through November, Long collected donations with help from drop boxes placed in RLE Enterprises and Amps Hair Salon.
Heller noted once advertising the donation drive on Facebook, “Everybody was coming out of the woodwork,” to participate.
The post spread like wildfire.
It was shared over 200 times and drew a wealth of support, said Heller.
As donations came in, Long “...would get excited as if they were her gifts,” said Heller. “She just couldn't wait to give [the hospital] the toys.”
By the end of the drive, they had accumulated over 500 items including art supplies, dolls, cars, puzzles, Play-Doh, board games, and cosmetic items, Heller noted via email.
There was so much, Heller explained they had to “Tetris everything in so it would fit” to get it all down in one vehicle.
The donations were presented to CHOP in early December.
“They were beside themselves,” said Heller, noting it took four workers to unload everything.
With nothing but praise for the hospital and gratitude for the drive, Heller said she and Long hope to continue this act of kindness annually.
“Every little bit counts,” said Heller, noting that even the smallest of donations helped accumulate the mountain of gifts presented to CHOP.
Naming RLE Enterprises and Amps Hair Salon especially, Heller stated via email, “We are truly thankful for all of the support and plan to do this every year, making it bigger and better than the year before.”